Frank Ocean's Pot Bust May Lead to Sea of Legal Trouble

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By Deanne Katz, Esq. on January 03, 2013 12:38 PM

Frank Ocean's smooth tunes and sweet lyrics have earned him fame and fortune, but they couldn't get him out of trouble when he was busted for pot.

On New Year's Eve, Ocean was pulled over by police in Mono County, California. They found a small bag of pot on him and also realized he was driving with a suspended license. He was cited by police and then let go.

Ocean will likely have to appear in court at a later date. But police would never have known Ocean had pot on him, if he hadn't made a crucial mistake.

Police didn't stop Frank Ocean because they suspected he was carrying marijuana. They pulled him over for going 90 mph in a 65-mph zone, reports TMZ.

Even without the pot, Ocean would have been in for a hefty speeding ticket. But when police approached the car, they allegedly smelled marijuana. With that, they searched Ocean and his car.

Police generally need reasonable suspicion that a crime is happening to search someone or their property. A speeding ticket alone isn't always enough for police to search a vehicle.

But if they can point to specific factors that suggest something unlawful is happening, then they can perform a search without a warrant. Seeing, smelling, or otherwise finding evidence of drugs can be enough to justify a search.

News reports don't indicate whether Ocean had a prescription for his pot. But he certainly wasn't doing himself any favors by speeding.

Even if Ocean hadn't been speeding, police may have still pulled him over for having illegal modifications on his car. He was cited for having tinted windows, which (depending on which windows are tinted) is against the law in California.

Illegal car modifications will generally draw the attention of police. Best case scenario, you get a ticket and told to undo the mods. Worst case scenario, you end up like Ocean and the police cite you for something else.

Ocean didn't have to spend any time in jail, but his encounter with police brought its own embarrassment. When the police let him go, Ocean had to have his friend jump into the driver's seat, because police had confiscated his license.

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